Prestat: Master Chocolatiers | St James's London


Prestat: Master Chocolatiers

Veterans of St James’s launch a rose-coloured range

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Taking a bite into a truffle is one of life’s simple pleasures. With their handcrafted, artisanal creations, Prestat have been providing a valuable service on that front for over 100 years. Current owners (and half brothers) Nick Crean and Bill Keeling have been at the helm of the Princes Arcade premises since 1998, turning a run-down enterprise into a multi-million pound operation.

Nick equates chocolate with fun and happy memories. “My go-to in life tends to be our hand-rolled dusted Napoleon III,” he says, “made with superb quality cocoa from São Tomé. They’re what I remember buying my grandmother. But if I’m being very naughty, I love a Crunchie, and I don’t mind saying that.”

The team have recently launched a new assortment of goodies, using a ground-breaking product. “Ruby is the fourth and newest member of the family,” says Nick, “the other three being milk, dark and white. It’s been created by the world’s leading producer Barry Callebaut, and retains a fresh colour, with hints of berry and fruit. It’s delicious.”

With that has come a different style of packaging at the hands of cutting-edge illustrator Storm Athill. “I’m very keen to expand to bring in a younger clientele,” says Nick. “Brands need to always be aware of making themselves relevant to the next generation.”

The outlet has recently undergone a refurb by designer Liza Campbell, and they’ve added a café. “The decor remains predominantly pink, blue and gold,” says Nick, “but also includes notes from our new boxes and wrapping turned into wallpaper. It’s an evolved look. The emphasis is on theatricality and regalness because obviously we’re thrilled to have a Royal Warrant from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. That’s very central to our business.”

“There are no other chocolate companies that Dahl wrote about so extensively,” Nick says, talking about their connection with the eminent author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and many more sweet-toothed children’s titles. “I feel he would be incredibly pleased with our latest offering. He would perhaps think it was bonkers, innovative and childish. And I’d say he’d totally appreciate our revamped store.” It’s open now and ready for your perusal - which decadent morsel will you choose?